By Kaka Esteban
Manila, Philippines- Leftwing activists identified with the fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya)on Thursday urged members of the influential Judicial and Bar Council (JBC)to expel Quezon City Rep. Matias Defensor for “terrorizing” the body by pushing it to submit a next list of nominees for the next Chief Justice to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
In a press statement, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap asked the 7 other members of JBC that instead of toeing Malacanang line of removing the current SC Chief Justice Reynato Puno, they should come out with a solid position rejecting Defensor’s proposal and immediately pass a collective position calling for the expulsion of an Arroyo lapdog in JBC.
“The JBC people should rise above the occasion and frustrate Palace plot to control the Supreme Court by putting a Supreme Court Justice who is a puppet of Malacanang, who will agree with the agenda of Malacanang to place the entire country under Martial Law and who will subscribe to the idea of failure of elections in 2010,”added Hicap.
The Pamalakaya official rebuked “Defensor’s defense” that Malacanang has nothing to do with his proposal for JBC to take up the replacement of SC Chief Justice Reynato Puno, asserting that the lawmaker from Quezon City is a topnotch puppet of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Defensor denied that the move was initiated by Malacanang, adding that he was on his own when made the appeal to JBC to nominate three names from which the President could choose the next Chief Justice.
“Defensor’s stints in JBC these days were authored and orchestrated by the ruling Arroyo clique in Malacanang. The inglorious lawmaker and political bastard will not act on his own, that’s totally outrageous,” added Hicap.
Pamalakaya theorized that Malacanang is planning something big and something sinister and one way of effectively ensuring these plans is to forced the early resignation of Puno and the latter’s replacement of a new Chief Justice that could dance and sing well with President Arroyo and the militarist operators in Malacanang.
Chief Justice Puno will retire in May 17, which is covered by the election period where appointment of government officials is banned, thus Arroyo can no longer appoint his replacement.
Article VII Sec. 15 of the Constitution bars the President from making appointments two months before the next presidential elections and up to the end of his or her term. But Rep. Defensor warned against a vacuum in the position even for one day.
Defensor argued that an acting Chief Justice, picked by the justices themselves, “may not command as much respect” as the one formally appointed by the President.#